Monday Night Football Ratings Hit New Low Point

As exciting as the Vikings vs. Bears game was on Monday night, it failed to attract an average sized audience, likely because of the NFL’s widespread kneeling demonstrations during the national anthem. Fans want football, but they’re just getting more identity politics; they’ve had enough.

The game was exciting, and the new Star Wars trailer was even released during halftime, but still the game had the season’s lowest ratings to date. Even though the network did not air any players taking a knee during the national anthem, it still was not enough to bring back the audience they have lost.

According to Deadline, the League just keeps taking a beating, and this week was no exception.

Snaring a 7.0 in metered market results, last night’s MNF was down double digits from last week’s Kansas Chiefs’ 29-20 victory over the Washington Redskins. Down 17% in the ratings, that’s actually a regular game season low for the ESPN broadcast game and matches the MM result of the second game of the doubleheader MNF opener on September 11.

That comes a day after Sunday Night Football also hit a season low with its ratings down too.

A sliver of a silver lining can be found for the NFL and ESPN in that last night’s game was up 8% in MM ratings from the Week 5 match-up last year between Tampa and Carolina. With the help of strong ratings from those always well-watched Dallas Cowboys, MNF is holding steady with last year’s hard-hit season with a 5% uptick.

Keep in mind that the Dallas Cowboys have been more cautious with their approach to the demonstrations. Team members did take a knee and link arms during the pre-game ceremony several weeks ago, but they did so before the singing of the national anthem. Players then stood when the Star-Spangled Banner began to play.

Additionally, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has stated that he will not tolerate players kneeling during the national anthem.

“If there is anything disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period,” Jones said Sunday, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We’re going to respect the flag and I’m going to create the perception of it.”

He said unequivocally that his players were going to stand for the flag.

“We cannot in anyway give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag. We know that there is a serious debate in this country about those issues, but there is no question in my mind, that the [NFL] and the Dallas Cowboys are going to stand up for the flag,” he said.

“But let me be real, real clear the thing that the National Football League needs to do and the Dallas Cowboys are going to do is stand for the flag. We’re going to do that. It’s the rules that are on the book in my opinion.”

Dolphins head coach Adam Gase will also not tolerate any players taking a knee during the national anthem.

“We’re standing for the national anthem,” head coach Adam Gase said Monday, per Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel. “If you don’t want to stand, stay in the locker room.”

“It doesn’t matter what I think. This is what we’re doing,” he added, via Kelly.

Three Dolphins players had been kneeling during the national anthem as part of the protest against racial injustice, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:

However, they were not allowed to replicate the activity during Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Julius Thomas, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas stayed in the locker room before coming out after the ceremony.

It will likely take more teams making such announcements before fans begin to come back to watching the NFL. Many of them are simply sick and tired of all of the politicking and want something to get away from it all.

If the NFL wants to please their fans, they should get back to just playing the game.